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COVID-19 2nd Wave | Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw questions Centre on vaccine production, asks for transparency

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw’s tweet comes as India is embattled in a ferocious second wave of COVID-19, even as the country-wide vaccination drive crawls at a slow pace due to supply shortages.

May 11, 2021 / 01:00 PM IST
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw  asked about the promised 70 million doses per month are being deployed and suggested that a timetable of supplies be made public so that “people can patiently wait their turn”.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw asked about the promised 70 million doses per month are being deployed and suggested that a timetable of supplies be made public so that “people can patiently wait their turn”.


Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Founder and Chairperson - Biocon, has questioned the Centre on the status of vaccine production in the country.

In a tweet addressed to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW) on May 11, Mazumdar-Shaw said she was “very concerned” about the short supply of vaccines and expressed the need for “better transparency to avoid suspense”.

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She also questioned about where the promised 70 million doses per month are being deployed and suggested that a timetable of supplies be made public so that “people can patiently wait their turn”.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Mazumdar-Shaw’s tweet comes as India is embattled in a ferocious second wave of COVID-19, even as the country-wide vaccination drive crawls at a slow pace due to supply shortages.

While the Centre claims to have allocated enough doses to states, various state governments have repeatedly claimed they do not have enough and have in some cases halted or restricted vaccination for those aged 18-44 and instead focused on providing second jabs to those aged 45 and above.

The Centre first opened up vaccines for healthcare and frontline workers in January 2021 and then for senior citizens aged 60 and those with comorbidities aged 45 and above in March. It opened the inoculation drive to all citizens above 18 years of age on May 1.

The process has however been marred by shortage of vaccine doses, and the Centre was criticised for exporting vast amounts of the AstraZeneca jabs made by Serum Institute of India (SII) and also not placing sufficient bulk orders well in advance to meet demand.

Cases have however been skyrocketing following super-spreader events such as the Kumbh Mela and election rallies held in states such as West Bengal.

The new Indian variant of the coronavirus is also believed to be responsible for the swift spread. The variant was classified as “global concern” by the World Health Organisation on May 10.

Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here
Moneycontrol News
first published: May 11, 2021 01:00 pm

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